Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gardening fools, water and salt

Today we spent almost ten hours working in the garden.  We are only spending that much time because we are converting it from long rows to raised beds.  I pulled weeds between the garden beds.  Then I put down the weed blocker that I was able to get and put a wood chip mixture on top.  Using the wheelbarrow was too difficult for the grandkids so they carried buckets.  I spent much of my time either shoveling wood chips into their buckets or taking the landscape rake and spreading it all out.  The kids made over 100 trips back and forth between the pile and the walkways.  They did an amazing job. 

We got more of the garden planted.  We put in a full bed of okra.  These kids love okra.  Their favorite way is fried but they'll eat it breaded and baked too. 

Oldest grandson came over, riding his bike 10 miles to get here, to finish up the front grape/strawberry bed.  He too did an amazing job.  At dinner tonight we had a discussion that everyone has to help if they want to eat from the garden.  There's no standing at the cherry tree stuffing your face full of cherries if you don't put in your fair share of work. 

When we work outside I put an igloo water cooler out near us.  We have three 5 gallon coolers and two 2 gallon ones.  Today we used the 5 gallon cooler.  This morning I filled it with water and the ice that was in the freezer.  It stayed cold all day and we went through about four of the five gallons.  People often forget to drink until they feel dehydrated.  By that time you are not going to be able to easily recover and you will work slower and you won't be thinking as clearly.  On the other hand, don't overdo the drinking of liquids.  We are so often told that if our urine is anything other than a light straw color we are dehydrated.  People can go to the hydrating extreme and make them selves really sick by getting too hydrated.  I've seen people have explosive diahriaha because they down a gallon of liquid at a time.  Your body can't handle that.  When we are working and sweating, it's not uncommon to drink a quart or so each hour.

The two little ones went straight to bed after dinner.  I'm sure they'll sleep hard tonight.  While oldest grandson was drilling the holes to put the rebar into the landscape timbers he had the radio on.  I'm not sure what he was listening to because it was a loud obnoxious song or two then a few minutes of news reporting.  One of the news reports caught my ear.

The newscaster was talking about the latest trend to store food.  He said that not only are there companies who make long term foods available for storage but also companies who make containers and shelves to store this food in.  He said that there's one lady who devotes half her laundry room to stored food.  He then explained that people who store food are just preparing for some major disaster like a flood or an earthquake, but that more should store food as a way to beat inflation.

The story went on to say that Americans spend an average of 20% of their income on food.  When food prices go up, as they have recently, and gas too, that it's more difficult to budget for the food.  If you buy extra when it's cheap and stock up then it's a hedge against inflation. 

Of course we all know that but it was an interesting way to put it out to the general public.  Store food instead of saving your money in the bank because you'll get a better rate of return on it. 

I wonder how many people that aren't the survivalist or prepper mindset will be swayed by these types of news stories, of by the CDC making light of preparing by announcing that you should prepare of the zombie apocalypse, or even an earthquake or tornado. 

We made some raisin bread this morning.  As I was putting the ingredients together (flour, water, yeast, salt, cinnamon sugar, raisins, melted butter) I just about finished up my box of salt.  It's a three pound box of kosher salt.  I looked on the side of the box and it said it had 1100 servings of 1 teaspoon.  I use a teaspoon of salt in my bread to add a little flavor.  One three pound box that costs about two dollars will last for about three years of making bread every day.  That should be something that's easy enough to do.  Actually we have about 25 pounds of salt (pourable) plus several blocks of salt that I purchased at the feed store.  Some of the salt is still in the boxes that it came in.  Some has been repackaged into plastic jars.  I have pasta containers and I pour salt into those containers.  It mixes with the pasta and keeps the bugs out.  I shake off the salt prior to cooking the pasta but it's not a big deal if there's a little salt on the pasta.  Most people throw a little salt into the cooking water anyway.  That salt is reusable, either with more pasta or pouring it into the salt shaker.

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